Tips To Protect Your Art Prints

You found the perfect fine art print to add to your collection and you want to be able to enjoy it for years and years to come. It’s hard to put a life expectancy on a print since there are many factors that could affect its health and longevity. It’s important to take steps to help your prints to last a long time.

The most effective way to protect your fine art prints is to store them away in a flat file in a cool place with low humidity. Some collectors do this, but of course it’s not fun if you can’t see and enjoy the artwork on your wall!


Art image: Huahine

One of the issues that comes up with prints is fading. Damage by UV light is common. It’s difficult to eliminate all UV light. The same as if you’re outdoors and can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day, UV light can still affect a print that’s not in direct sunlight. It does help to keep the print out of direct sunlight, but in addition to that, there are other things you can do to help to protect your print from fading.

  • UV light is present in fluorescent lighting so it’s best to avoid fluorescent light bulbs. Instead use LED bulbs which emit no UV light and very little heat.
  • When framing, use glass or acrylic with UV protection to help block UV light.
  • Don’t place lighting of any kind too close to a print, including LED lighting.
  • Giclee on canvas prints are not 100% fade proof (I don’t think any prints are). However, they do pretty well at holding their original colors and can be framed as you would an original oil painting; without UV glass or acrylic. It is still safest to hang in an area not exposed to direct sunlight.

Humidity can cause mold and discoloration of your prints, both paper and canvas. Ask your framer if they have options to help to seal your print within the frame so there is less chance of damage by humidity.

If you have a canvas print framed with no glass or as a gallery wrap without a frame, humidity sometimes causes the canvas to stretch and be a little loose. Taking a damp cloth or sponge and dabbing it on the back of the canvas can help. As the canvas dries, the canvas fabric will tighten up a bit. Repeat if necessary. If you are uncomfortable doing this, a frame or print shop may be willing to provide this service.

Paper prints do not like heat. It may cause rippling in the paper and many times the print may end up being permanently damaged. It’s best to not hang in places with extreme heat and temperature fluctuations, such as over fireplaces.

These tips will help to protect your art prints so you’ll be able to enjoy them for many, many years. Your frame shop or a local art print shop may also have other helpful suggestions.